Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Beef with the Cloud

I am listening on my iPod Classic while I type these. Before the last Apple keynote (link to video here), a lot of people were speculating that Apple will kill the iPod Shuffle, iPod Classic, iPod Nano and even the iPod Touch, arguing that the company will just bank on the iPhone and the iPad. After all, a good chunk of Apple's earnings come from the network-connected devices.


I thought that that was just pure nonsense.


I am not entirely sure about what Apple will do, I think only a handful of people inside the company knows what the next big thing is, but I am really happy that the iPod lineups I mentioned above are still being sold.


Why?


The cloud is a really good concept. Being able to have your music with you is something that I have always wanted and that is the reason why I have the iPod Classic. It's 160GB capacity is enough for my media - music, photos, videos and podcasts - and I still have enough disk space left that I use to backup my photos whenever I travel. Uploading RAW photos to the cloud to back it up? Well, it will cost you. Whenever I travel, I shoot at least 30GB worth of shots and I don't want to spend an exorbitant amount of money for that, not to mention the wifi bandwidth necessary to upload the photos. In my experience, wifi in hotels, whether free or paid, is so painstakingly slow! I couldn't even watch a low bit rate youtube video in peace: I often need to pause what I am watching so that there would be enough video buffer.




So, what about what people are saying about Apple only selling iPhones and iPads? I think that's a lot of words, and, in the immortal words of the characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, words are wind. Can we really do away with non-network-based devices? I think not. First of all, don't get me started with 4G. 3G, the current technology isn't even that good because of spotty coverage and slow download and upload speeds. I really don't know why the networks are so adamant about advertising 4G whereas 3G isn't even that reliable yet. Why don't the networks blanket the entire USA of 3G before they start boasting that they have 4G?


It's the megapixel wars all over again. It's the "the-greater-number-of-blades-in-your-razor-the-better-it-is" campaign all over again.


Wait, we haven't talked about the cost of 3G yet... Perhaps the people who are saying Apple should kill the iPod line are invested in the networks. If the networks earn a lot via the data plans, then these writers will earn a lot also in the process. But wait! Networks throttle your data speed if you are a heavy user! So even if you are willing to pay for the bandwidth, your download and upload speeds will slow down because you will be at the 3% of users that surf heavily. So much for putting your faith in the "almighty cloud" when the networks will slow down your speed when you use the network a lot.


So I really don't know why anyone would want to rely solely on the cloud... For me, a healthy combination is necessary.


What about wifi? Well, comeback to me when the whole USA has been covered with wifi, then we can talk. Heck, I'd be happy if the whole of Chicago will be covered with wifi... And wifi should be fast, right?


Yes, I'd like to have the cloud available. But I don't want to rely on that solely for the reasons I've provided above.


Written while waiting for iOS5 to land and while listening to my iPod Classic. Photo taken with an iPhone4 and post-processed using the app 100Cameras.

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